Alexander Volkanovski might not be the next challenger for Max Holloway’s featherweight championship, but he definitely believes his day is coming.
Following his unanimous decision win over Jose Aldo at UFC 237, it looked as if Volkanovski was in pole position to claim a title shot. However, just days after the event, it was announced that former UFC lightweight champion and two-time featherweight title challenger Frankie Edgar had been booked to fight Holloway at UFC 240 in July.
Prior to that announcement, Volkanovski appeared on The MMA Hour to explain why he is the rightful No. 1 contender and why a matchup with Holloway on Oct. 5 at the UFC 243 show in his native Australia would be ideal.
“I should get a fight with Max Holloway, definitely, 100 percent I deserve that title fight,” Volkanovski told host Luke Thomas. “He doesn’t want to fight in Australia, I guess he’s the champ, whatever. But he’s game, he knows the Australian fans will love him as well. Everybody knows that’s gonna be a cracker of a fight, so I don’t think it will be as hostile a crowd or something like he’d have to worry like it is in Rio, I think that would be a bit more crazy than it would be in Australia. I reckon he’d do it and we just need to make it happen.
“It would be a cracker of a fight and I’m sure the world wants to see it.”
Volkanovski foresaw his featherweight title opportunity taking place as the co-headliner to an expected UFC middleweight title unification match between Oceanic stars Robert Whittaker and Israel Adesanya. That may be out of the realm of possibility now depending on the outcome of Holloway’s defense against Edgar.
Regardless, Volkanovski has long had Holloway in his sights and thinks he has the perfect style to deal with the always aggressive featherweight champion.
“I just still fight my fight,” Volkanovski said when asked how he’d beat Holloway. “Look, he’s a gamer, he comes forward, he does a lot of the work for me. That’s why I’m a bad matchup for him, I really do believe that.
“He’s the type of person that does come forward and he’s not the hardest hitter, he’s got a lot of volume, but again if you’re there trying to throw volume at me, you’re gonna receive some and they’re gonna be heavy and they’re gonna be powerful. Then you’ve got my wrestling to worry about, then you’ve got everything else to worry about. I’ve got many tools that he needs to worry about, so I believe it’s a very dangerous fight for him. But he’s game, he’d be keen, let’s make it happen.”
Holloway hasn’t lost in his last 13 appearances at 145 pounds (including one catchweight bout where his opponent missed weight), but did taste defeat in his most recent outing as he moved up to lightweight to fight Dustin Poirier for a vacant interim title. That bout went the full 25 minutes, giving anyone scouting Holloway plenty of data to work with.
To Volkanovski, it didn’t tell him more than he already knew: That Holloway could be beaten and that he’s just the man to do it.
“I always knew that he could be beat,” Volkanovski said. “I always knew that I was a bad matchup for him. It was probably better for everyone else to realize that he’s not invincible, everyone thought he was just unstoppable, which I don’t blame them, obviously he’s looked really good, much respect to him.
“But at the same time, I knew he wasn’t invincible, that just showed and let’s be realistic, I’ve got cardio for days and I will not gas and I will be powerful the whole time, so I’m a very, very bad matchup for him I believe.”